Don’t get ripped off! Beware web cowboys

I was consulting with a new job prospect recently about developing a new website for her business. She asked me if the price would also include adding all the content to the pages. I told her that would be an additional cost based on how much content and pages there was.

She then mentioned that she was on a tight budget. The reason, she had already spent a lot of money on someone else to build her website. But what they dished up was, well, pretty crap.

Even though she didn’t proceed with them and not use what they had done, (because it was crap) she was still out of pocket for the 50% deposit paid at the start of the project.

Once she told me this I thought to myself, this is the third person to say something similar to me in the last two weeks!

My initial response was, “this not my problem, as it was you who had made the mistake of choosing the wrong contractor in the first place”. But in the end I did however lower my proposal slightly to help her out.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard this story either. Which also got me thinking, are these people trying to play me? Or did they really get ripped off?

Two of them are now my clients, and from all accounts after working with them I can safely say they are very trusting people. What happened was they just got conned by some shonky practitioners calling themselves professionals.

So these sharks, cowboys, what ever you want to call them are out there. They may not necessarily be trying to rip you off, rather than just not qualified enough to do the job.

Ultimately what they are good at is selling you something. Whether they deliver on that promise is another story.

So I wanted to provide some advice on how to avoid these cowboys, and what to look for when sousing a freelancer or agency to do work for you.

Here’s a quick list below.

  • How experienced are they?
  • Do they have a portfolio of work? What’s it like?
  • Do they have social proof (reviews)?
  • What are their processes? Do they include a prototype?
  • Do they offer on-going support?
  • What’s their personality like?
  • What’s their communication like? Are they listening to your problems? Do they offer real solutions?
  • Do they have a network, or offer multiple services in-house?
  • Do they have social media accounts? Check-out there LinkedIn.
  • Be careful, you get what you pay for.
  • Ideally if you can get a referral from a college, that’s the best qualifier.


Most of this list is the same list in another short article I’ve written. Hiring a good web designer. I go into more detail about each item in the list. I highly encourage you to read that article. Really, these stories are quite common, so I don’t want you to throw your hard earned cash away. Do your research and get it done right the first time.

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